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Little things mean a lot

I’m breaking my three-weekly posting cycle to speak out against the city council’s attempts to remove decorative ironwork from one of the city’s conservation areas.

bollards2.jpgThe bollards in question guard the alleyway between Clarendon Road and Neville Street in the Heigham Grove Conservation Area. See the cast-iron railings on the adjacent house? The council’s own conservation appraisal of the area highlights these in its excellent document and says:

“Several surviving cast iron railings along Clarendon Road are particularly fine and rare examples of once common Victorian ironwork”.

Now, without consultation, the city council wants to replace these bollards to make the alleyway accessible to its mechanical sweepers. There must be a way to preserve them.

One argument for their removal is that the bollards are no older than the 1980s but the George Plunkett archive of historic Norwich clearly shows the same type of cast-iron bollard around the green outside St Gregory’s Church in 1931. So the pattern is at least 85 years old and almost certainly Victorian.

St Gregory's 1931.jpg

Courtesy georgeplunkett.co.uk

The same design can still be seen bordering the green today…

St Gregorys bollards.jpg

… and at other historically-sensitive sites, such as the steps from the market to St Peter Mancroft, the area around Bishop Bridge and steps between Davey Place and the Castle. This design is much more in keeping with these historical sites than the hollow-cast replacements.

two bollards_2.jpg

Clarendon bollard (left), Davey Place steps (right)

Why this matters  Norwich is a fine city, not because of its shopping malls, but because of the incredibly rich heritage that confronts visitors at every turn. It is the historical texture of the place – what John Litster of the Norwich Society calls ‘patina’ – that visitors find so rewarding. But we have to fight for it. Remember, it was only the casting vote of the mayor in 1924 that prevented our major tourist attraction – Elm Hill – from being demolished. The council meets to discuss the Clarendon bollards early next week so please act now.

What you can do  

  1. Sign this change.org petition https://www.change.org/p/norwich-city-stop-norwich-council-removing-original-victorian-bollards-from-conservation-areas
  2. e-mail Luke Powell of the Norwich Evening News who has been following this campaign. luke.powell@archant.co.uk
  3. Become engaged via The Norwich Society. Contact administrator John Litster on norwichsoc@btconnect.com